iPhone: Al-Jazeera

Annie Gaus reviews the app for news-addicted iPhone users, Al-Jazeera English Live.

Al-Jazeera English Live provides an compelling service for all of you news-addicted iPhone users: a live, 24/7 feed of the network's English language channel, which is available online only in the United States. Developed by Livestation Limited, Al-Jazeera English Live is also one of the few apps currently available that streams television content live to the iPhone. Annie Gaus demonstrates the app for you and breaks down the hits and misses.

The idea is very simple: for $2.99, you can stream Al-Jazeera's live English feed directly to your iphone, over either wi-fi or 3G, adjusting the settings for image quality so you can manage bit rate.

It's an exciting service with great potential, and the image quality is pretty good, even in standard definition. However, even when streaming at the lowest possible bit rate, error messages are frustratingly common. The app seems to work well over wi-fi--at least for a few minutes at a time--but not over 3G. It does consume around 7.2 MB for every 10 minutes of content, and may not be reliable enough to satiate the less patient current affairs junkie.